The No. 4 Baylor Bears (8-0, 5-0) find themselves on the outside looking in on the College Football Playoff (ranked No. 6 by selection committee), as they host the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night at McLane Stadium in Waco.
A loss for either team spells disaster in terms of national title hopes in a conference without a championship game. Baylor is currently a three-point favorite at home, according to Sportsbook.ag.
The Bears continue their quest for that national championship with a freshman quarterback running the country’s most explosive offense. Baylor ranks No. 1 in points (57.4) and yards per game (666.0), while Jarrett Stidham has taken over where the injured Seth Russell left off, throwing for 419 yards and three scores in his first start in a 31-24 win over Kansas State last week.
This week, he faces a Sooners pass defense that’s racked up 12 interceptions, tied for second-best in the Big-12, and has allowed only 11 scores and a conference-leading 178.6 yards per game.
The other phase of Baylor’s high-powered offense comes from running back Shock Linwood, who leads the Big-12 in rushing (1,049 yards) and has nine touchdowns but struggled for a season-low 72 yards against Kansas State. He draws a Sooners defense that’s allowed eight rushing scores all season and ranks No. 16 in scoring defense (18.1 points per game), including just 23 in its last two games.
The Bears’ defense isn’t too far behind Oklahoma while the Sooners' offense may be able to hang with Baylor in a shootout.
The Sooners are tied for second in the country with 46 points per game, and quarterback Baker Mayfield’s completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 2,812 yards and 28 touchdowns to only four interceptions, most recently torching Iowa State for his fifth 300-plus yard game of the year. Baylor’s second in the conference with 223.8 passing yards allowed per game behind cornerback and Big-12 interception leader Xavien Howard.
Oklahoma is paced on the ground by Samaje Perine’s 860 yards and 10 touchdowns. Baylor has the No. 63 ranked run defense, allowing 164.6 yards per game.
This is the first of a three-game Big-12 gauntlet to end the season as both teams play No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 15 TCU in the coming two weeks, with the Cowboys hosting Baylor next week before hosting the Sooners on Nov. 28.
Start Time: 8:00 p.m.
Betting Odds: Baylor -3
TV Channel: ABC